The three-time All-Star unsurprisingly chose to push his way out of Philadelphia after the public treatment he received from the franchise. Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas recently chimed in, bashing the 76ers handling of the situation.
Ben Simmons finally gets his wish
Simmons’ path toward his departure from the 76ers didn’t go as smoothly as hoped.
Although the 25-year-old’s time in Philadelphia looked to be nearing a close, the team’s high trade package demand didn’t help. Meanwhile, Simmons remained away from the franchise, creating more uncertainty around his future fate.
The star point guard finally got his wish before the trade deadline in a blockbuster move to the Brooklyn Nets that netted the 76ers fellow disgruntled guard James Harden. However, former guard Gilbert Arenas voiced some strong words toward the 76ers.
Gilbert Arenas blasts the 76ers’ handling of Ben Simmons situation
Much can be said about the 76ers’ handling of the Ben Simmons situation that lingered through this season.
Although Philadelphia acquired the star talent they wanted all along for Simmons, the franchise failed to absolve the matter in a timely manner. However, former NBA point guard Gilbert Arenas, on his No Chill podcast, recently called out the 76ers for how they treated the three-time All-Star publicly.
“I can understand where Ben Simmons is coming from,” Arenas said. “It wasn’t the media saying he can’t win, his own coach said ‘don’t know’ if the Sixers can win with him. Teammates know each other weaknesses they know Ben struggles with shooting and confidence issues. Putting him out there like that wasn’t right.”
The 76ers certainly did Simmons no favors by publicly calling him out after their second-round playoff exit. Doc Rivers’ comments that he didn’t know if the 25-year-old was a point guard he could win a championship with quickly became a damning statement.
Meanwhile, Joel Embiid’s remarks about Simmons’ inability to step up as a scorer only further underlined the growing sentiment around the franchise. In many ways, coaches and players may not have realized the gravity of their words, especially after a disappointing playoff collapse.
Those factors combined could only damage Simmons’ reputation, leading him to become stuck with an uncertain future for several months. If the 76ers had handled the matter much differently publicly, it wouldn’t have lingered on as long as it did.
Nets provide a much-needed fresh start
As damaging as the last few months of Simmons’ 76ers tenure became to his reputation, he has the chance to wipe the slate clean with the Nets.
The three-time All-Star is stepping into a situation where he won’t have the significant offensive onus on his shoulders due to Durant and Kyrie Irving. That alone will allow Simmons to impact the game more effectively in areas he excels, such as passing and defense.
He can also contribute offensive in transition while remaining a significant factor in the paint. However, Simmons sits sidelined, dealing with a pre-existing back injury that flared up in his increased work to get back on the court.
Despite that, head coach Steve Nash voiced that he fully expects Simmons to play this season.
“I’m fully expecting to have him this year. That’s where my head’s at,” Nash said via Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News.
Nonetheless, once Simmons returns, he will have the chance to rewrite the narrative around him behind the opportunity to be the missing piece to a championship contender.